These two sentences seem to use the same pattern, yet differently:



I found that 間 could mean ''among'' in this case, but what is the difference between the first usage of 間 and the second? I also presume that in the first sentence, 間 is read 'かん', isn't it?

Would 親族の間で and 使用人間で work as well?

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    人間{にんげん}couldn't be substituted for 人の間.
    – BJCUAI
    Feb 14, 2019 at 15:30
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    Additional hint: many kanji have multiple readings, and certain readings are only used in certain contexts. See the Wiktionary entry, among other resources: the version of 間 that attaches directly to kanji-compound nouns is not the same 間 that's used as a standalone noun. Feb 14, 2019 at 16:56
  • I don't understand. 親族 is the noun. It doesn't seem wrong to me to add の間で right after. Don't we also say 友達の間で? What's different?
    – Ushiromiya
    Feb 15, 2019 at 14:19
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    @Ushiromiya, the difference is the lack of the の. 親族【しんぞく】間【かん】 has a different reading, and slightly different nuance, from 親族【しんぞく】の間【あいだ】. Note also that 親族【しんぞく】 is read with the on'yomi, while 友達【ともだち】 is read with the kun'yomi. The reading also has an impact on the kinds of things that can compound with a noun. Feb 15, 2019 at 19:39
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    I figured that much, but I'm asking about the difference in meaning between adding 間で after a noun, and using the form の間で. Also, adding 間で after a noun doesn't seem to work all the time, in which case I'd like to know the prerequisite to use it.
    – Ushiromiya
    Feb 15, 2019 at 21:11

1 Answer 1


Well to me the meaning of the two expressions would be quite the same, but I think some words don’t fit well in the expression “〜間(kan)”.

  • I suspect 和語 will generally fit well with “〜の間(aida)” △:人々間(Hitobito kan) ○:人々の間

  • I suspect “〜間(kan)” is used rather for a fixed expression Ex. 国家間、学校間、友人間

My advice is:

If you are not sure which to use, use “〜の間(aida)”, then you will be on the safe side. I can’t come up with an example you can’t use this expression when you can use “〜間(kan)”. (Maybe it is partly because, “kan” has a lot of expressions with the same pronunciation, so “Aida” is preferred generally)

If you wish to make the expression shorter, use “〜間(kan)”.

Anyhow, I think you just need to know there are practically no differences in meaning. (Although there might be some exception I can’t come up with right now.)

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